STRAWS

‘Have a good day sir,’ I said to the customer I was attending to. I couldn’t wait for him to go.

The blinking red light of my phone had been distracting me so bad that at some point while attending to him I reached under my desk and flipped the phone face down.

As soon as his back was turned to me I slid out the phone; it was blinking red so I hadn’t imagined it. I checked through the messages and there was a mail purporting to come from ‘First Online’ asking me to update my account details – forget that I didn’t have an account with First Bank – and another from Spectranet to remind me that my subscription was expired and needed to be renewed.

I felt disappointment pool from the corners of my being and form into something weighty before dropping to the pit of my stomach.

This was me lately, picking my phone up randomly – sometimes snapping awake in the middle of the night to do so – not realising that I was holding my breath and clutching threads of hope until I checked and there was no message from Keme. Then the disappointment I felt would shock me.

Today was no different.

After Keme told me she was seeing someone else I had sent her a couple of messages none of which she replied.

Who was this person? How long had they been dating for? Was she happy with him? Was she happy?

These were the questions that drove me to her instagram page. I saw she had taken down all the pictures of me, and in my place was a face I recognised in an instant. Someone whose story was as familiar to me as any story I knew.

Keme was back with Fred, the guy she dated before me.

Wait. Keme went back to Fred? What happened to “I would never get back with Fred even if he was the last man on earth”?

I think that, more than anything else, shook my confidence in women. It did not change the fact that I was still in love with her.

I scrolled through post after post, collecting evidence of her new found happiness.

Just this one time. This pain I’m feeling will pass and I’ll heal.

Shut up Bobo. This is what happens when you read shitty quotes on twitter and think they represent real life. This pain is just that: pain. As for healing, who knows. One thing though, I have to stop doing this… this stalking. oh shit. I’ve graduated to stalker.

I had various versions of this conversation with myself, laughing at how I could let a woman have my mumu button like that. I knew I had to stop stalking her, and I swore that time was the last time, then I’ll be doing it again.

Sometimes I would go on whatsapp just to see if her avatar changed, what her status message was and check when last she saw her messages.

Now again I felt the familiar sinking feeling of disappointment knowing that Keme was happy living her life without me. With Fred.

‘Bobo is everything okay?’ Osime, the girl working beside me asked.

‘Yes Osime,’ I bared my teeth is what I hoped was a convincing grin. ‘Why d’ya ask?’

‘The past few days you have walked about almost like a robot, and when you look at your phone – which you seem to do a lot more these days – you look like you’re going to cry, or worse.’

That made me laugh, a laugh that sounded hollow even to my ears.

‘I’m okay, I promise.’

‘If you say so.’ she shrugged and turned back to her monitor.

To pass the time I went on twitter and was trolling when I saw a meme retweeted onto my timeline.

“What? Over? Did you say “over?” Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour? Hell no!”

Because I didn’t dwell on the bit about Germans bombing Pear Harbour, I thought it was very funny and quite apt seeing how I felt about Keme so I retweeted it.

A few minutes later the red light on my phone flashed. I checked and saw I had a tweet and a whatsapp message, and my hands started to tremble. I had to set the phone down to try to still my hands, and my heart.

Keme followed me on twitter, but not a lot more people, so it stood to reason that she had seen the meme and replied me. Maybe even sent me a whatsapp message. I rubbed sweaty palms on jean clad thighs, picked up the phone and checked first twitter.

It was the meme retweeted alright, but by a @Sunshine handle.

Next I checked whatsapp and, for the second time that afternoon, disappointment threatened to swallow me whole.

It was a broadcast message from some group telling me how Buhari planned to Islamise Nigeria as was done in Sudan, Lybia, Algeria and Constantinople.

I set my phone back down, but only after blocking the sender of the message for spouting such silliness.

It had nothing to do with dashed hopes. Nothing.

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